The Whale Brothers:

Chapter I: A Terrible, Terrible Deed

This is the English translation of a story written in Tuamotuan by Paea a Avehe who was from Vahitahi island in the eastern Tuamotus.

This is the family: Tinirau was the father and Puturua was the mother. They had two sons who were named Tutunui and Togamaututu. Although the parents were human these sons were not men, they were whales! These are the daughters of these parents. They were: Ruatamahine, Ruatohu (also known as Katouri), Ruatogaegae (also known as Katomea and Hinarehu.

It is said that those two sons were not men, they were whales. When they were born they were taken and thrown in the water, then they were nourished, and, when they were grown their fame went out to all the places in the world.

Kae heard the words about these two fishes, Kae said, “I will go and see these two children, this is the first time this has happened, people do not give birth to fish.”

Kae started on his journey, Kae journeyed towards Vavau-nui, Tinirau saw Kae and said, “Oh Kae, what is the reason that you have journeyed here to Vavau-nui?”

Kae said to him, “Because of the fame of the two children that I have arrived here in Vavau-nui.”

Tinirau said, “Come and see.”

The two of them went to the water, which was called Vaipunariki, and Kae saw! Kae marvelled and said, “How did these two children become fish?” Tinirau said, “I went to Havaiki to the abode of K…! I saw the eyes of K … looking at me, K … said to me, ‘Your two children, their appearance will be different from all people, for they will stand under the deep water that is Havaiki-Nui. No chief will trouble those two, for they are the shadow, they are Atea!’”

Kae was overcome with laughing at Tinirau, Kae said, “What are the amusements for me?”

Tinirau said, “There are lots of amusements; this is one sport: fighting, running about in the rain, swimming in the ocean, skipping stones, there many other amusements.” Kae said, “There is one amusement for me, I want to play tag.”

Tinrau said, “I will go and speak to my daughters that are over there.” Tinirau went and spoke to Ruatamahine and to all the rest of them, those young women came, when Kae saw the young women, he was overcome with laughter,

Ruatamahine said to Kae, “O Kae, what is the amusement that you wish?”

Kae said, “Playing tag.”

Ruatamahine said, “That is acceptable to me.” Ruatamahine then started to count, this is the counting of Ruatamahine:- “E rari, e rua, e geti, e ha, e rima, e ruaono, e ruahi, e ruavaku, ragaiva, e gauru” (A one, a two, a three, a four, a five, a six, a seven, a eight, a nine, a ten.)

When they were all done, Kae was ‘it’, Kae started to chase the young women, those young women ran all around, those young women ran all over the place. Kae ran in circles to chase those young women, Kae said, “Let’s stop our amusement.” They then stopped.

Ruatamahine again said to Kae, “What other amusement do you want?”

Kae said, “None.” Kae said, “Finish our amusement.”

Ruatamahine said, “Are you bored?”

Kae said, “Yes,” They went as a group to the land, Kae was courting Ruatamahine. They arrived at the land, Ruatamahine started a conversation as an amusement for Kae; this was a custom of theirs to do those sorts of things. Ruatamahine started to sing a song of affection.

Kae laughed. Kae was listening to this song and Kae said, “Start it again!” They started that song of affection again. Kae enjoyed these songs. Kae said, “Start a song of boasting.” They started the song of boasting, this is the words of the song:-

“The shades of Havaiki shade on you, my chief, Bathe at Tea-nake-nake.”

Kae was amused by this, Kae spoke again, “Say it again.” They started the song of boasting again, and then they finished this thing. Kae said to Ruatamahine, “There are no other amusements.”

Ruatamahine said to Kae, “This is an apuke song, we are starting a kuheahea.” Then she started the kuheahea song.

Kae was very amused by the things done by these young women; then they finished.

Kae said to Ruatamahine, he said, “I will return to Vavau.”

Ruatamahine said, “How will you return?”

Kae said, “On these two children (The two whale brothers).”

Ruatamahine said, “Go and ask Tinirau (the father) for these two children.”

Kae went and asked for these two whales; Tinirau permitted the request of Kae. Puturua (the mother) saw that it was permitted by Tinirau, Puturua said to Tinirau, “Why did you permit it? I know that these two children will die, Kae will play a cruel trick on one of these two children.”

Tinirau went and spoke to these two children (the two whale brothers), Tinirau said to them, “Which of you two will carry Kae to Vavau?”

The older brother said, “I will.” The younger brother said, “I will.” Those two brothers argued. The older brother said, “You go behind, I will go before, so why should we argue?”

The younger brother obeyed, the younger brother said, “We two will go.” The older brother said, “Perhaps you should not come, you should stay for our parents.” The younger brother argued a lot, the older brother permitted his younger brother to come.

Tutunui stirred up the water so that it was immense, the whales went outside of the water hole which was called Vai-punariki, they arrived in the deep water off of the reef.

Kae waited a little, Kae climbed on Tutunui, he traveled to Vavau, Kae went close to the island of Vavau, Kae said to his people, “Go and pull up one of those two fish (whales) over there, cook so it will be food for all of us.”

The group of people went and they pulled the whale in towards the shore, they took him and chopped him up. The younger brother was out in the sea, he was waiting for his brother to return; when the younger brother saw that his older brother was dead, he approached the reef, he gathered up the blood of his brother, and then, he put his brother back together again so that he was again a fish; those two returned to their homeland, the two parents saw that the journeying was finished, the two parents also saw that the older brother was cut and only blood remained, Puturua said to Tinirau, “Look and see what I told you, don’t permit Kae to go with these whales, his desire was not the real desire, his desire was for the two children (whales).”

Those two (the whale sons) arrived in the bathing pool, the younger brother rose up in the water, he was good, the older brother rose up in the water, he was chopped up, he was not a living thing, he was a dead thing, because he was gathered up, blood only, Puturua lamented her son, these are the words of that song:-

“My son is dead in Vavau, Kae, you live, you breathe, you will be consumed, [rire: to be exhausted by sexual excesses, to die down, as the wind], you will live, The child that is loved by me is dead in Vavau, The breath of Puturua the woman is gone, The crying of Puturua subsides for her son who is dead in Vavau, You breathe, you will be consumed, My breath is used up.”

Puturua stopped her lamenting for her son, but Tinirau, he did not lament, he was wondering why one of his sons was dead, the war started, Tinirau started his war to go to the land of Kae to take revenge for his son.

Ruatamahine saw that their father was going to take revenge for their brother, Ruatamahine spoke to her father, and said, “Don’t you go, you are too old, you are tired, go and put up the spear, leave it to me to go and take revenge for my brother.”

Tinirau said, “Will you be able to do this?”

Ruatamahine said, “I can do it.”

Tinirau permitted it, Ruatamahine started her journey with her younger sisters, they boarded the canoe of Tukihiti, they arrived at the land of Kae, Kae saw them.

He was happy, Kae had been thinking that he should visit Ruatamahine because of his desire for her. Kae said, “I will not go, my woman has come to me.” Kae took these young women, he led them to his hut, he showed them all the things in his place and the things that were done. Ruatamahine laughed at the things that Kae was doing.

Kae said to Ruatamahine, “What is the amusement that you wish?”

Ruatamahine said, “It’s up to you, it’s not up to me.”

Kae again said, “It’s up to you to do all the things that you want, I will permit it.”

Ruatamahine said to Kae, “Juggling will be our amusement.”

They started to juggle kernels of pandanus fruit. The young women of Kae spoke to Ruatamahine, saying, “You start.”

Ruatamahine, “No, you start.” Those young women argued, Ruatamahine yielded, Ruatamahine started, the young women of Ruatamahine also started, Ruatamahine obtained the victory.

Kae spoke to his young women, “What sort of juggling was that?” Those young women did not answer a thing; they knew that Kae was angry.

Ruatamahine spoke to the young women, “Finish this amusement.” Ruatamahine could tell that Kae was really angry.

Kae said to Ruatamahine, “What will finish it?”

Ruatamahine said, “Leave it, I am bored of that amusement.”

Kae said, “What will be our amusement?”

Ruatamahine said, “I want to play ake (fie ld hockey).”

Kae said, “It will be done.”

The younger sisters of Ruatamahine started to play ake with the young women of Kae, the victory was again obtained to the younger sisters of Ruatamahine.

Kae was really angry, Kae said to his young women, “What sort of playing was that?”

Kae took a stick, he beat his young women until they were unconcious. The young women of Kae had all fallen.

Ruatamahine said to Kae, “But I still wanted to playing ake.”

Kae said, “How will we do it now?”

Ruatamahine said, “Just us two will play ake.”

Kae said, “Will it be acceptable?”

Ruatamahine said, “It will be really acceptable.”

Kae permitted it, they went on to the field called Mahora-i-Havaiki (Field-at-Havaiki), those two started, Kae said, “You start.”

Ruatamahine said, “You start.” Those two argued. Kae said, “It is acceptable to me.” Kae took his bat which was called Raroraro- henua (Below-the-land), the legs of Kae stood spread apart, he hit his ball, the ball flew at Ruatamahine, but she was not hit.

Kae spoke saying, “Ah! I missed!” Kae spoke, “It is your turn, Ruatamahine!”

Ruatamahine took her bat which was called Roro-fau-i-matagi (Hibiscus-Circle-in-the-Wind), Ruatamahine raised her stick up, then Ruatamahine recited a spell, Ruatamahine said:-

“I am, I am, I am Ruatamahine,
Chase him above, chase him below,
I will not protect,
Fly onto the head of Kae.”

Ruatamahine struck the ball, the ball flew to the head of Kae. The head of Kae was split open, Kae fell down, Ruatamahine took Kae, carried him to Vavau-nui, they beached on the land, they took Kae up onto the land, and they sharpened a knife, Ruatamahine took a hand of Kae, then she cut it off. Then she cut off one of his legs. She cut off other parts, she pried out his eyes, cut off his nose, his ears, pulled out his teeth and all this time Kae was moaning, “Oh! Oh my hand oh my ears, oh my eyes.”

This is only words about all the things that happened to Kae, the work of Ruatamahine was finished; the revenge for her brother was completed, the war of the young woman is done, that is, of Ruatamahine-te-kaito (Ruatamahine-the-warrior).


There are three versions of this legend in Tonga, the Marquesas Islands and in the Tuamotus.

There is also another Tuamotuan version of this legend from the same island, Vahitahi. The other legend says that Kae was carried away by Ruatamahine in a large basket. This agrees with the Tongan version called ‘Ko e Folau a Kae’, in which Kae is taken to Samoa in the middle of the night in baskets prepared by the gods of Samoa. Then Kae is executed in the morning by being cut into pieces.

The Tuamotuan and Tongan version of the story both agree that the whale that was killed was not completely dead. The Tongan version says that the whale was brought to life again from the excrement of the people that ate him. The Tuamotuan version says that the pieces of the butchered whale were brought together to make a whale-shape that was much smaller, but was still possessed by the spirit of the dead whale. It appears from many stories that the old Polynesians: Tongans, Tuamotuans, Samoans, Hawaiians, Marquesans, etc. did not believe that death was final or complete.

The various versions of this story are separated by distance and time. This suggests that this legend has been told for at least 2000 years. The agreement between these legends shows how well Polynesians were able to pass down their culture to their children even though they did not have writing.


Chapter II: Togamaututu Makes Some Friends

This is the English translation of a story which was written by Paea a Avehe of Vahitahi island.

Togamaututu was a fish-son of Puturua. When he and his brother returned from Vavau they lived in their bathing pool. This is the bad-thing, his brother was not good because the brother, Tutunui, was dead. The dead thing is not like the living thing. And also the living thing is not like the dead thing.

Then Togamaututu thought that he would go out and wander around to all the places. A day came that Puturua (the mother) went out and looked at those two. When Puturua saw them she saw that one of them was active and that the other one was just laying there. Then their mother wept.

When Puturua was done with her weeping, Togamaututu approached to the shore, to their mother. This whale said to her, “I will go and wander around all the place in this world. When my desire is fulfilled I will return. Puturua said to him, “Why do you think of going?” Togamaututu said to her, “I am tired of living in my bathing-pool.” If my brother was like me (alive not dead) I would have a friend.” Puturua said to him, “If you go I will be really worried. Your brother is dead, you alone remain. If you are killed weeping will be my work through all the days.” Togamaututu argued with Putura to permit him to go. The mother gave him permission for his plan. She permitted him to go.

The concern of Puturua for her two sons was relieved concern-ing her two fish-sons. She returned to their house. When Puturua had gone, Togamaututu rose up outside of their bathing pool. He went out to sea. He travelled along the edge of the islet Mahina- tetahora.

He met a school of iroiro (bonito) fish. He questioned them, “You are traveling over to where?” The iroiro fish said to him, “We are traveling over to Tonga-reva.” Togamaututu said to them, “Where is Tongareva?” They said, “Underneath the deep bottom of the sea just beyond the reef.” Togamaututu said, “Let’s all go together.” That school of iroiro fish said to him, “We do not want for you to come with us.” That school of iroiro went on with their journey. Togamaututu called to them, “Go! There is a day that you will see me.”

Togamaututu travelled on along the islet Tukigahoro. He then met a school of popahi fish. He questioned them, “You are traveling over to where?” The iroiro fish said to him, “We are traveling over to Te Rehega (the offshore part of the reef where the ocean is shallow, but getting deeper).” Togamaututu said, “Let’s all go together.” That school of popahi fish said to him, “We do not want for you to come with us.” That school of popahi went on with their journey. Togamaututu called to them, “Go! There is a day that you will see me.”

Togamaututu travelled on along the islet Tefatupenapena. He then met a school of tohoveri fish. He questioned them, “You are traveling over to where?” The school of tohoveri fish said to him, “We are traveling to sea on the high seas to search for our food.” Togamaututu said, “Let’s all go together.” That school of tohoveri fish said to him, “We do not want for you to come with us.” That school of fish went on with their journey. Togamaututu called to them, “Go! There is a day that you will see me.”

Togamaututu traveled to the ocean around Vavau. He met a school of totara (porcupine) fish, they were coming to him. Togamaututu questioned the school of totara fish. You are traveling over to where?” We are traveling to sea to the high seas and eat pakipaki (a kind of jellyfish without stingers). Togamaututu said to them, “Let’s go there together and I will also eat pakipaki.” The school of totara fish said, “Come, we will go.” Togamaututu was very pleased with that school of totara fish. They went way out to sea. Then they ate pakipaki. Then they were full. Togamaututu said to the totara fish, “Then what do we do now?” The totara responded to him, “You go, we will stay here.”

Togamaututu traveled over to Vavau. He approached Vavau. Togamaututu saw the school of iroiro fish, they were being chased by a hakura (a kind of swordfish with its sword on the lower jaw). The school of iroiro fish saw him. They swam towards him by the shore and called to him, “Togamaututu, save us.” Togamaututu answered them, “Keep running, I do not have a way to save you. If you had listened to my words to let me journey with you I would save you from the anger of the hakura.”

Togamaututu continued on his journey. It was not long and he saw the school of popahi fish, they were being chased by an upuupu (a kind of swordfish with its sword coming out of its upper jaw). Some had been eaten, the remaining ones were looking for an escape. They saw Togamaututu traveling. They swam towards him by the shore and called to him, “Togamaututu, Togamaututu, save us.”

Togamaututu answered like he had before to the iroiro fish.

Togamaututu continued on his journey. It was not long and he saw the school of tohoveri fish, they were being chased by a shark. Some had been eaten. The same thing happened as before with the other schools of fish.

Togamaututu arrived all the way to Vavau. This was the land where his brother had died. When this whale arrived near the shore, he rose up in the ocean. The people on the island saw this whale. He had risen up in the sea. The people on the island said, “That thing which has risen up towards our island cuts through all the lands!”

This fish was listening to their words. Togamaututu approached them, up to the very edge of the reef. These people saw that whale and he was being picked up by the waves of the sea. If that had happened he would have been dropped down on the reef and stranded. These people said to themselves, “Let’s climb onto the reef and wait for our fish to come and to be thrown by a wave onto the reef.” The people gathered onto the reef and waited.

Togamaututu was watching what these people were doing, standing on the reef. Then he jumped up in the ocean so that he was very high. Then he did his trick to make a wave break over the reef. This wave broke on the reef. All these people were killed. Their corpses were floating in the ocean. Togamaututu gathered them up. The corpses of these people were gathered by Togamaututu. Then he returned while carrying all the bodies of these people.

He did not travel through all the places. As he was returning he met the totara (porcupine) fish and they were being chased by a shark to be eaten. The totara fish saw him. They swam to him and called, “Togamaututu, Togamautu, save us. Togamaututu said to them, “I will save you.” The totara fish followed behind him.

As they came the shark approached Togamaututu. Togamaututu called to him, “Shark, shark, turn away and go back. Do not bother my food. Stop your coming along, shark.” Shark did not obey the word of Toga-maututu. Togamaututu called again just like he had called before. Shark answered just like he had answered before (he didn’t answer). Then Togamaututu bent his tail. Shark was close to the shore. Then the tail of Togamaututu whipped up to Shark. Shark was completely dead. Shark’s body fell down among the coral masses that grow on the ocean side of the reef.

Then Togamaututu arrived in his land. The totara fish arrived with Togamaututu to his homeland. He said to the school of totara fish: “In this place you will live. I will go back into the bathing pool. For that is my place.” The school of totara fish said, “All of us will go with you.” Togamaututu said to them, “You will not like to go there and live. You will all die. You are not accustomed to living in the bathing pool.” The school of totara fish accepted the words of Togamaututu. They dwell in the reef up until this day.

Togamaututu entered into the bathing pool. For that reason it is said in ancient times, “When a whale is seen going by the edge of the reef.” The old people said that it was “the totara fish.” And that is how it is. It was not long and the totara fish went onto the reef. That was because Togamaututu guided the totara onto the reef and there they stay.

When the whale had arrived into his bathing pool, Puturua, his mother, saw that he had returned. Then Puturua came to the bathing pool to watch her fish-son. When she arrived, Toga-maututu was swimming around in his pool. Puturua sang to her fish-son, until her singing was done. Then this son said to her, “My journey was successful.” Countless people were killed by me at Vavau.” Then he took the corpses of those people and cast them onto the land. Puturua sang while this was happening. When her singing was done, she returned to her house. Then she told her daughters. Her daughters came out and collected these corpses and they carried them away to be food for them. These words are done.

(This story came from Paea a Avehe of Vahitahi island and is recorded in J. Frank Stimson’s Tuamotuan notes which are located in the Peabody Museum in Massachusetts. A microfilmed copy of these notes can also be found in genealogy libraries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints genealogy library collection, film nos. 761842-761848. This story came from film no. 761848, p. 16268.)


Chapter III: Marautorea and Ruatamahine

The original author of the Tuamotuan version of this story is unknown. The dialect of Tuamotuan that the original version was written in suggests that it is from Anaa island.

A long long time ago there was a chief on the island of Vavau, which is probably the island of Hiva Oa in the Marquesas. The name of this chief was Marau-torea and it is said that he was descended

from a man named Puna. Not only was he a chief, he was also a warrior.

Marau-torea heard about a young woman, named Ruatamahine, who lived on the island of Motu-Tapu which is probably one of the islands which encircles the lagoon of Anaa. Marau-Torea gathered his people and they set off on a voyage to Motu-Tapu in a double- masted, double-canoe.

As they were sailing the mother of this young woman saw by magic that they were coming to her island. The mother’s name was Puturua. She was the queen of Motu-Tapu and the surrounding islands. Puturua was had a lot of mana (magic). When Puturua saw the canoe of Marau-Torea coming she sent some piherere fish to stop the canoe from coming to Motu-Tapu.

When the fish got to the canoe they first crowded around the canoe. The people of Marautorea saw the fish and they told Marautorea about the fish. But he told them to ignore the fish. Then the fish started to jump into the canoe and to make it heavy. The people could not ignore the fish any longer because their canoe was going to sink. So, Marautorea told his people to take their scoop nets and to scoop up the fish so that they would have food for their journey. That is what the people did.

When Puturua saw that the fish she had sent had been all scooped up by the people of Marautorea, she sent some jellyfish to hinder the voyage of Marautorea. When the jellyfish arrived at the canoe of Marautorea and his people they crowded around the canoe to slow it down. The first person on the canoe reached into the water and tried to pick up a jellyfish. Of course, his hand was stung by the jellyfish’s tentacles. Then the second person on the canoe tried to pick up a jellyfish and he was stung too. Then the next person tried to pick up a jellyfish and so forth and so on, until all the people of Marautorea had tried to pick up the jellyfish and had gotten their hands stung.

So all the people of Marautorea had been stung and they were all standing holding their hands. Some were yelling, some were crying. When Marautorea saw them holding their hands and yelling, he asked them, “Why are you holding your hands and shouting?” They told him that they had been stung trying to pick up jellyfish. Marautorea realized then that it was the work of Puturua and he was angry. So he took his fish poison and he scattered it into the ocean. After all the jellyfish were poisoned, he healed the hands of his people and they continued their journey.

When Puturua saw that her second trick had not stopped Marautorea and his people, she sent some more fish like the first time. The fish crowded around the canoe of Marautorea and his people and they started to jump into the canoe. When Marautorea saw this he used his mana (magic) and he called on the birds of sky to come and eat the fish. The birds came and ate all the fish that had been sent by Puturua.

When Puturua saw this third trick had not worked she decided to use another trick which was much more powerful than her other tricks. She went outside of her house to the bathing pool beside her house. In this bathing pool lived the son of Puturua, who was, of course, the brother of Ruatamahine, the woman that Marautorea was coming to visit. This son was not a human, he was a whale. His name was Togamaututu. Puturua was scared to ask her son for his help because he might not obey his mother.

Puturua told her son that people on a canoe were coming to their island of Motu-Tapu and she also asked him to swim out into the ocean and to stop them from coming. Togamaututu told his mother that he would not go. So Puturua went back into her house with weeping.

After she left with tears in her eyes Togamaututu thought to himself that he should obey his mother because if he didn’t she might be so upset that she might die.

Ruatamahine came over to vist her mother and saw that her mother, Puturua, was crying. She asked her mother why she was weeping. Puturua said, “I asked your brother to go out into the ocean and stop a canoe from coming here to Motu-Tapu and he would not obey me.” Ruatamahine suggested that she should go and ask her brother to stop the canoe from coming. But Puturua said, “No! If you go he will be mad at you.” Ruatamahine answered and said, “He will not be mad at me.” So Puturua permitted her daughter to go.

When Ruatamahine arrived at her brother’s bathing pool he was swimming around in it. She told her brother that he should obey his mother and go out and stop that canoe from coming to Motu-Tapu. So Togamaututu, the whale, obeyed his sister’s request and he left Motu-Tapu to go and look for the canoe of Marautorea.

Beside Motu-Tapu there were three other islands: Mahina-te-tahora, Tukigahoro and Tefatupenapena. These islands all lay along the same reef so they were separated from one another by short channels of water that were shallow enough that you could wade from one

island to another.

When Togamaututu left Motu-Tapu he went along the path in the sea that goes in front of the first island, Mahina-te-tahora. He saw nothing. He went on to Tukigahoro and, again, he saw nothing. When he arrived by Tefatupenapena, he saw the canoe of Marautorea. Then he rose up in the ocean and swam along the surface towards the canoe. He was coming after the canoe like a gigantic wave that was going to crush them.

When Marautorea saw this great whale swimming towards his canoe, cutting through the waves, he said to his people,“Kua mate tatou!” (“We are dead!”) However, Marautorea called on the Tokerau (North) wind to blow. The wind came and filled up their sails and they started to run towards Tefatupenapena (the last island of the group). There was the whale following behind and the canoe sailing before. The whale almost caught them, but they ran up on to the land first. When Togamaututu the whale, saw that they had escaped he called out to them, “Kahiri, kaore e henua, kua mate koutou iaku!”, which means: “If there was no land here, you would be dead to me!”

When Togamaututu got home to his mother he told her that they had escaped from him by running up onto the land. When his sister, Ruatamahine, heard that the canoe had gotten away she told her mother and her brother that she would walk over to them the next day and kill them.

The next day Ruatamahine and her three younger sisters started to walk over to Tefatupenapena. When she got to the end of Motu-Tapu she faced across the channel that faced over to Mahina-te-tahora. She did not want to wade over through the water so she said:

Ko vau,
Ko vau,
Ko Ruatamahine,
Ei aku ruga,
Ei aku raro,
Kunua mai te haga henua ake ra,
Kia piri keta,
It is I,
It is I,
Ruatamahine,
Chase them by land,
Chase them by sea,
Push the islands,
That they will be close together,

According to the mana of Ruatamahine, the islands: Mahina-tetahora, Tukigahoro and Tefatupenapena moved over together so that she could walk all over the way from Motu-Tapu to Tefatupenapena without having to wade through the ocean.

When Ruatamahine got close to Tefatupenapena, Marautorea the chief saw her coming. He said to his people, “If these are the women that I have come to visit I will be very pleased.” When they got closer he saw that it was indeed, Ruatamahine and her sisters.

When she got close to him he asked her where her canoe was at. She did not tell him about the magic that she had done, she simply said, “My canoe is around the point, out-of-sight.” Marautorea said to her, “You should bring it around here, this is the best anchorage for a canoe.” Ruatamahine answered that the place that her canoe was anchored at was good enough.

Then she asked Marautorea why he had come to Tefatupenapena. He answered, “I did not come to Tefatupenapena. But I was coming to meet you at Motu-Tapu.” Ruatamahine laughed and said, “Perhaps if my brother was gentle you would have made it to me.” At this point, Ruatamahine was looking real hard at Marautorea. She was watching to see what kind of person he was. She liked what she saw and she was thinking that she would like to have someone like him as a husband. She was thinking, “I will not kill this person like I killed Kae.”

Ruatamahine confessed to Marautorea that she had come to visit him so that she could kill him, but she had decided that she wanted to marry him. Marautorea agreed to this arrangement. Ruatamahine told him to come and visit her the next day at Motu-Tapu. However, she warned him that he must walk over on land or else they would have to face her brother again. Then Ruatamahine returned with her sisters to Motu-Tapu. As they walked she told her sisters to tell their mother that they had found no one. When they got to their mother they told her that they had seen no one. She thought that perhaps they had gone back to their homeland of Vavau.

That night all that Marautorea could think of was going over to visit Ruatamahine the next day. The next day he and his people started to walk over to Motu-Tapu. At the same time Togamaututu, the whale, swam out to sea to the place where the island of Motu- Tapu connected to the island of Mahina-te-tahora. He backed up to the place where the two islands connected and he started to chop them apart with his tail.

Ruatamahine was also walking over and she saw that her brother was trying to split the islands apart. So she stood with one leg on Motu-Tapu and the other leg on Mahina-te-tahora and held the two islands together. Togamaututu couldn’t see her because his head was turned the other way, so he kept chopping. After chopping for awhile he could tell that something was holding the islands together so he turned around to see what was holding the two islands together. When he saw that it was his sister he was really

mad. He said to her, “Why are you holding this islands together and not telling me. I am out of breath from chopping! If you had told me that you liked this man I would not have come to make problems for him.” Then he went back to his bathing pool.

There was Togamaututu the whale in his bathing pool. He was mad and when Togamaututu was mad it was hard for him to talk about his anger so he would do things to show his anger. This is what he did. He pushed his head out of the water, then he splashed it down hard and made a gigantic splash. He did this over and over. His mother, Puturua, was sitting in her house and every time Togamaututu splashed his head in his bathing pool the water would splash onto her house and run down the roof. So there was Puturua looking out of her house and water was running off of her roof so she thought it was raining. But the water dripping off of her roof was stopping and starting, stopping and starting. She thought to herself that it must be real weird rain that starts and stops, starts and stops. Then she looked out further and saw that bright sunlight was shining on everything so she knew that it couldn’t be raining.

Then she peeked out of her window and saw that her son was splashing his head in his bathing pool and that was causing the water to splash on to her roof. She asked him why he was doing splashing so he told her what had happened.

When Puturua found out what had happened she walked over to the end of Motu-Tapu and she asked her daughter, Ruatamahine, “What are you doing.” Ruatamahine said, “I’m standing here.” Then Puturua asked her daughter why she had not told them that she wanted to marry Marautorea. Ruatamahine did not answer. So Puturua told her daughter, “If you want to marry him you can, but you will have to move to his island.” Then Puturua returned to Motu-Tapu and left her daughter standing between the two islands.

After Ruatamahine heard these words of her mother she went over to where Marautorea and his people were coming over and she said to Marautorea, “It would probably be best if you just went back to Vavau.” Marautorea answered and said that he would not go back to Vavau until he had married her.

Ruatamahine replied, “Will the strength of my brother give way to yours? You may have to fight my brother. This is my word to you: do not kill him, but save him.” Then she went back to Motu-Tapu and Marautorea returned the other way towards Tefatupenapena.

That night Marautorea was thinking really hard about his trobles. He was not going to return to Vavau until he had married Ruatamahine. But he realized that he would have to fight Togamaututu and that if he did not kill Togamaututu then he would be killed. But if he killed Togamaututu then Ruatamahine would not marry him. He thought to himself: “If I do it the way that I want she will not marry me, if I do it the way that she wants I will die.”

That night he walked from Tefatupenapena to Motu-Tapu to visit the whale. Puturua and her duaghters were asleep in their house so they did not see the arrival of Marautorea. Marautorea stood beside the bathing pool of Togamaututu. Although it was dark Togamaututu could tell that someone was standing beside his bathing pool. He said, “Ko vai te kaito e tu nei i te hiti o taku tairua komo?” which means, “Who is the warrior who stands beside my bathing pool?” Marautorea responded, “It is I, Marautorea, the man that you chased on to Tefatupenapena. I am a kaito (warrior) who stands at the source of Vavau!” Togamaututu told Marautorea that he should go back home and not marry Ruatamahine. Togamaututu said, “It is probably best if you just return to your homeland.” But Marautorea insisted that he would not return until he had married Ruatamahine. So Togamaututu said, “We will have to fight!” Marautorea agreed to this.

Togamaututu took the first turn. He rose his head up high and crashed it down on the place where Marautorea had been standing. When Marautorea saw that he was in danger of being crushed by the head of this great whale, he jumped across the whale and landed on the opposite side of the bathing pool. When the head of Togamaututu, the whale, came down on the place where Marautorea had been standing it made a great hole in the earth. Togamaututu said, “Where are you?” To his surprise he heard Marautorea answer from behind him: “I am standing over here.” Togamaututu groaned in his heart, “Perhaps, this man is a real kaito (warrior)!” Togamaututu then asked, “Where did the splash from the water go?” Marautorea said, “Tera e horu ake ra ki te moana tai raraha! (There it is curving over the high and distant seas!)”

Togamaututu tried to kill Marautorea again. He raised his tail way up high over the head of Marautorea and he crashed it down where Marautorea was standing. But Marautorea stepped to the side and avoided the tail. Where the tail hit the earth, there was a great

hole in the earth. Togamaututu then asked, “Where are you?” Again, he was surprised to hear an answer from Marautorea. Marautorea said, “I am here, I stepped to the side to avoid your tail.” Togamaututu said the thing that he had been fearing. “You are a real kaito,” he said.

Then Marautorea said, “I think that I will take my turn now.” Togamaututu said, “It is O.K. with me if you take your turn.” So Marautorea said, “Here goes.”

Marautorea called on the sky by saying:

Ahuahua te vai o Puturua,
Ahuahua te vai o Togamaututu,
E vai te one,
E maraga te one i ruga,
E kore e mau te purupuru o te
vai o Puturua,
Dry up the water of Puturua,
Dry up the water of
Togamaututu,
The sand will be remain,
The sand will rise up,
The wetness of the water of
Puturua will no longer remain,

According to the words and mana of Puturua, a great white cloud came over the land. Then it passed on. Then a great grey cloud came in its place and covered the land. Then it passed on. At that point, Togamaututu said, “When will it start?” Marautorea repied, “It is coming.”

Then a great black cloud came over the land. Out of the cloud came the whirlwind and it touched down into the right side and then into the left side of Togamaututu and it sucked all the water out of the pool. Togamaututu was left wiggling back and forth on the dry sand, he was dying and his strength was gone.

The battle between Marautorea and Togamaututu had made the earth shake and this awoke Puturua and one of her daughters. Puturua asked one of her daughters, “Why is the earth shaking like this? Go out and ask your brother what has been going on.” The duaghter replied that it was too dark for anyone to want to go out, so she said that she would wait until morning. Ruatamahine was also awake and she heard what her mother and her younger sister were saying. She realized that perhaps her brother and Marautorea were fighting each other. So she quietly arose and went outside to her brother’s bathing pool.

When she arrived she saw that her brother was laying on the sand near death. She said to Marautorea, “Can you bring back the water?” He said, “Yes, I can.” So then he called on the whirlwind to bring the water back and it did. The water filled up the pool of Togamaututu and restored the strength to Togamaututu.

Ruatamahine asked her brother what had been going on and he told her. Then she said to him, “Now you see why I like this man. You did not understand before.” Togamaututu responded by saying that he had no complaints about Maruatorea, but it was their mother who did not like him.

The next morning, Puturua asked her daughters where Ruatamahine had gone because she was no longer in the house. One of the daughters said that she had seen Ruatamahine get up in the middle of the night and go out. So Puturua went out of the house to the bathing pool of Togamaututu. As she approached the pool, Togamaututu said to Ruatamahine, “Let me do the talking.” Puturua asked her children what had been going on. Togamaututu told his mother about the fight and how he had lost. Then he said that if it had not been for Ruatamahine’s intervention, that he would have been killed.

Puturua then asked, “Where is this kaito?” The answer was that he was standing off a little bit under some trees. Puturua turned and looked over at him. Then she nodded her head to him for him to come. He came and she turned to her daughter Ruatamahine and said, “I am getting too old. Perhaps this is the best time for you replace me so that I can retire.” By this, Puturua acknowledged to her daughter that she agreed to her marriage with Marautorea.

Then they had this big feast to celebrate the marriage of Ruatamahine and Togamaututu. These words are done.

(This story came from Paea a Avehe of Vahitahi island and is recorded in J. Frank Stimson’s Tuamotuan notes which are located in the Peabody Museum in Massachusetts. A microfilmed copy of these notes can also be found in genealogy libraries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints genealogy library collection, film nos. 761842-761848. This story came from film no. 761846, pp. 16622-16643.)


This story has some interesting symbols. In the story the young woman, Ruatamahine and the chief, Marautorea, who wants to marry her are equals. He wants to marry her. But she also has a choice to marry him or not to. Young women have a choice about whether they will accept a young man or not. Sometimes, young men and even young women forget this.

The story also deals with interactions between the mother and her children. Not only does Marautorea have to convince Ruatamahine to marry her, he must also please her mother. As long as the mother does not agree to the marriage of her daughter with Marautorea, Marautorea has no chance.

All the main characters in this story have mana. All except

Togamaututu the whale. He doesn’t have mana because he is so big that he does not need it. However, in the battle at the end of the story, Marautorea the chief overcomes Togamaututu the whale because Marautorea has mana.

Mana is a greater force than physical strength. I sometimes see people with shirts that have pictures on them of Polynesian warriors with big muscles. Polynesians are big and strong, but their mana is a greater force than even their strength.

At the beginning of the story, when Marautorea is traveling to Motu-Tapu with his people, Marautorea is not really in the canoe in with his people. They have to tell him everything that is going on because somehow he is not aware of what is going on. When the jellyfish come and the people sting their hands, the people tell Marautorea that they have stung their hands. Then the story says that he crossed over from one side of the canoe to the other. This crossing over is symbolic of Marautorea traveling from the spirit world that he appears to be in, into the physical world where his people and his canoe are.

Marautorea defeats the first three groups of fish that come to his canoe. He defeats them in three ways: first he uses simple common sense and tells his people to scoop up the fish with their scoop nets, then he uses knowledge of plants and medicine to poison the jellyfish, and finally he uses his mana to call on the birds of the sky to come and eat the fish. Because mana is used after common sense and after knowledge of plants and medicine, this story is telling us that mana comes from knowledge and that this knowledge is a higher kind of knowledge than common sense and knowledge about plants and medicine. Mana comes from knowledge and there are other stories that talk about this.

Reference:
This story came from Paea a Avehe of Vahitahi island and is recorded in J. Frank Stimson’s Tuamotuan notes which are located in the Peabody Museum in Massachusetts. A microfilmed copy of these notes can also be found in genealogy libraries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints genealogy library collection, film nos. 761842-761848. This story came from film no. 761846, p. 12404.

Revised: June 13, 1996

Copyright © 1996 Daniel (Taniera) Longstaff